Image source, ReutersImage caption, The Zim Kingston ship is expelling toxic gas

Sixteen people have been evacuated from a burning container ship off the Canada's Pacific coast.

The Zim Kingston ship is expelling toxic gas but officials said there is "no safety risk" to people on land.

The ship was en route to Vancouver when it caught fire late on Saturday.

Response vessels spent the night cooling the exterior of the ship with water, but could not douse the flames directly because of the chemicals, CBC News reports.

"The ship is on fire and expelling toxic gas," the Canadian coast guard said. It added that 10 containers had been affected by the fire.

"Currently there is no safety risk to people on shore, however the situation will continue to be monitored," it said.

The coast guard reported the ship was carrying more than 52,000kg of chemicals located in two of the containers that are on fire.